Opportunities to understand China, Chinese culture and Chinatown




Jimmy Carr started his Prudential Talk by speaking about his early career – he said that in terms of starting out London is the best place to be. He had initially worked in marketing in the oil industry, but hadn’t enjoyed it. Being a comedian, he said, is “a joyful thing to do…it puts you in quite a good mood”. After a while, he said that it becomes like any job – he still gets an adrenaline rush on stage, but afterwards he’ll just go home watch TV, and just go to sleep “I don’t have to be up half the night”.

On the craft of comedy, Jimmy said that the most important thing is to treat the audience like a friend, and let them show you where the line is. He said that when telling a shocking joke, the sign of success is when people laugh first, then gasp afterwards: “you speak to the audience, and they speak back, and that’s how you know where the line is”. As a comedian, Jimmy said that he is “standing on the shoulders of giants”, and he cited comedians Billy Connelly and George Carlin as some of his role models. Jimmy said the worst heckle he’d heard of had been directed at a friend of his, when an audience member shouted “you’re ruining our evening”.

When discussing 8 out of 10 cats, the TV show he presents, Jimmy said that although his is known for making fun of the guests on the show, it is all in good fun and “we’re trying to make them look good”. He talked about some of his other projects, including the film Confetti, which he said was a genuinely improvised thing and that he really enjoyed the experience. He said he often approaches new work with the attitude “yeah, I’ll give that a go” and that he’d love to be in another film, although he joked he’s had no offers yet.

Watch the video to hear Jimmy talk about how laughter is remote tickling, the TV shows he’s obsessed with right now, and which countries he’d like to break into.